South Asia and Beyond

China Challenge Incentivises Stronger Indian Focus On Southeast Asia: Author Sebastian Strangio

NEW DELHI: It’s always been a sort of puzzle as to why India is not a more significant player in Southeast Asia, says Sebastian Strangio, author of ‘In The Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia In The Chinese Century’. Agreeing that India is punching below its weight in the region, the Southeast Asia Editor of ‘The Diplomat’ added the China Challenge “will incentivise a stronger focus on Southeast Asia.” In ‘Books Corner’ he “predicts, while the pandemic has highlighted the need for a balanced diet of trading partners and a diverse array of international relationships, Covid is reinforcing China’s centrality to the region.”

In conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi, the author also discussed the Chinese ethnic diaspora, ASEAN’s achievements and limits, the dangers of over reliance on Beijing, nationalism, self-interest and sovereignty, the need for India’s presence east of the Malacca, plans for Brahmos supersonic missile exports to countries in the region, Delhi’s engagement with Myanmar and China seeking access to the Indian Ocean through the country, the importance of further building up infrastructure in the north-east of India, the reality of the Thai ‘Kra’ Canal proposal and the Biden administration with U.S. foreign policy with China having turned a corner.

Sebastian Strangio began his career as a reporter at The Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia in 2008, has traveled and reported extensively across the 10 nations of ASEAN and has also authored, ‘Hun Sen’s Cambodia’.

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